Shoal Pond, Pemigewasset Wilderness

Pemigewasset Wilderness - Mount Carrigain from Shoal Pond during the summer months in Lincoln, New Hampshire. This is a remote pond in the Pemigewasset Wilderness
Mount Carrigain from Shoal Pond – White Mountains, New Hampshire
 

Shoal Pond, Pemigewasset Wilderness – Shoal Pond is a secluded 5-acre pond in the Pemigewasset Wilderness in the New Hampshire White Mountains. The average depth is one foot with a max depth of three feet (source, NH Fish & Game). The definition of “Shoal” is an area of shallow water, so this is likely why the pond was given this name.

This serene pond located along the Shoal Pond Trail, off the Appalachian Trail, is one of the unique features of this 45,000-acre designated wilderness. The reflection of the forest and Mount Carrigain in the pond early in the morning is excellent! And it is a great place to view wildlife and / or camp near for a few days.

Pemigewasset Wilderness - Shoal Pond Trail during the summer months. This trail is an old railroad bed once used by the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad during the logging era to remove logs from the Shoal Pond Valley in Lincoln, New Hampshire.
Shoal Pond Trail – Old East Branch & Lincoln Railroad Bed
 

Both the Zealand Valley (1884-1897, entire Zealand operation) and the East Branch & Lincoln (1893-1948) Railroads logged this area. And railroad buffs will see remnants of the railroads in many places. Along the Shoal Pond Trail, north of the pond, just off-trail, the railroad bed of the Zealand Valley Railroad is still visible. And the southern end of the Shoal Pond Trail follows the railroad bed of the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad.

In 1911-1912, the United States Geological Survey built a number of stream gauging stations in the White Mountains to determine the effects of deforestation on stream flow. Courtesy National Archives & Records Administration.
Shoal Pond Camp, April 1912 – Courtesy National Archives & Records Administration
 

In 1911-1912, the US Geological Survey built a number of stream gauging stations in the White Mountains to determine the effects of deforestation on streamflow. The results of these studies showed that cutting trees from the forest affected streamflow, and helped in the creation of the White Mountain National Forest. A few of these gauging stations were in the general area of Shoal Pond. And there were also two camps in the area, one at Stillwater and the other at Shoal Pond, that housed the men who monitored theses gauging stations. Seen above is the Shoal Pond Camp on April 26, 1912.

Pemigewasset Wilderness during the summer months in Lincoln, New Hampshire.
Shoal Pond – White Mountains, New Hampshire
 

In 1936, under the Weeks Act of 1911, the Federal Government purchased almost 70,000 acres of land from the Parker-Young Company (owner of the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad at the time) for inclusion into the White Mountain National Forest. And since 1936, the U.S. Forest Service has managed the Shoal Pond area.

At one point, there was concern about the possible building of a highway through today’s Pemigewasset Wilderness and Zealand Notch – connecting the Kancamagus Highway to Route 302. To prevent this from happening, outdoor groups began pursuing the Wilderness designation for this wilderness. But Forest Service first used the more easily obtainable scenic area designation too quickly protect the area from any highway building. And in 1969, the Lincoln Woods Scenic Area, consisting of 18,560 acres, which included Shoal Pond, was created.

Once the scenic area designation was in place, the highest level of protection for federal lands was pursued. And in 1984, the United States Congress designated the 45,000-acre Pemigewasset Wilderness. With the exception of about 1,200 acres, the Lincoln Woods Scenic Area became part of the Pemigewasset Wilderness.

Mount Carrigain in the Pemigewasset Wilderness in Lincoln, New Hampshire.
Cloudy Day – Shoal Pond, New Hampshire
 

The Shoal Pond region is the only area where I have found remnants of possibly a draft dodgers camp. These camps were known to have been near Camp 8 (along the Lincoln Woods Trail), but it is also thought they were scattered throughout today's Pemigewasset Wilderness. Little is known about these camps, but during the Vietnam War, the remoteness of this wilderness acted as a safe haven for draft dodgers. Unfortunately, Tropical Storm Irene altered the landscape, and no evidence of this camp exists today.

The serenity of Shoal Pond is the reason why wilderness conservation is so important in the 21st-century. You will not find a more peaceful pond in the White Mountains. View more images of the pond here.

Happy image making..


 

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Erin Paul is a professional photographer who specializes in environmental conservation and historic preservation photography in the New Hampshire White Mountains. His work is published worldwide, and credits include; Backpacker Magazine, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and The Wilderness Society.

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